The Jonah Within

Image courtesy of Richard Hedrick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There are few Bible personalities I really connect with. You know: Ruth was so good, and Esther was fearless and beautiful, and Mary was amazing. Paul is hard for me to get my head around, and the disciples, well, they were interesting and funny, but relatable? Well, maybe not so much.

But start talking about Jonah, and I’m right there with you. Somewhere amidst that moody, intense, prophet nature, I sense a personality at war with itself. He knew what was right, but he also knew himself. Maybe even doubted himself. And feared failure. And likely even feared success.

Yes, the fear of failure and success can live in one soul. When God told Jonah to go to Israel’s enemy and preach repentance, imagine the struggle that waged in Jonah. The compulsion to do what was right—what God was calling him to do—and Jonah’s natural struggle, disdain, and fear to follow through with it.

Who isn’t like Jonah, really? Which Christian hasn’t appealed to God for a higher purpose, for meaning, for work to do in this mortal body, only to be afraid it might be a calling we are inadequate for—like Moses fearing to speak—or a place we don’t want to go—like our friend Jonah.

I realized only recently that I’m a Jonah. I know my calling is writing. I rarely feel God’s pleasure more than when I string words together. I’ve known few greater moments of purpose than when I’m bashing out a story that has totally gripped me, and when I can help others by telling what God has led me through. To this I am called, but from this I often run.

recite-btezalWhy? Why do we run from that which brings us the most life, be it God, His calling, or even His love? It’s a mystery never explained, but which everyone understands at a level logic can’t describe.

I know for me it’s life. There are many dynamics to life—busyness, obligations, relationships to maintain, duties to fulfill…essentially a dozen balls to juggle—that are all very, very important, needed, and loved. It’s the very stuff life is made of. It’s God-given, and thus good, worthwhile, and meaningful. But honestly, sometimes these very things become my ship.

You know, the ship I jump on to take me in the opposite direction of Nineveh. And because they are good and worthwhile and meaningful, it’s easy to throw myself into them. And many of them I should! But the only problem is, I’m all the while sailing away from my true calling.

By not prioritizing our callings, we drift until we find ourselves as far away from them as earthly possible, or until God sends a whale to get us to refocus. (Click to tweet.)

Can I just say that I don’t want to be swallowed by a whale? Who does, right? It’d be far easier to just pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, be obedient, and do what God has called us to do (which, by the way, was probably the result of a prayer for God to use us.)

Ah, easier said than done, right? But nevertheless, done it must be.

All that to say, this Jonah may not be blogging for some time because I need to be writing other things, namely my manuscript and devotionals. But it’s likely I’ll resurface (hopefully not via whale transport) again in the future when God gives me direction regarding blogging.

As I grasp the oars and turn upstream, I’d love to hear from you. Are you a Jonah? Is God calling you to something you secretly fear? Has a proverbial whale ever turned you around?

(And, hey, let’s stay connected! Consider dropping me a message here at The Empty Inkwell or follow me on Facebook or Twitter. I love hearing from readers and appreciate every one of you!)

TWEETABLES

I’m a Jonah. Are you? (Click to tweet.)

New Years Resolution: no more being a Jonah. (Click to tweet.)

“The Jonah Within.” Why do we run from our callings? (Click to tweet.)

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9 comments on “The Jonah Within

  1. Francis Madler says:

    Now I know.–When Meagan leaves Spearfish I know she is acting like Jonah. But she comes back victorious.

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  2. Lizzie says:

    Such a good post, Meagan!! I can SO relate, and it’s so weird, because lately I’ve been feeling a little like Jonah in regards to my writing too, and have had his story on my mind for quite a while now! …Maybe God is trying to tell us both something? 😉

    I’m sad you won’t be blogging as often, but I totally understand! Wish you the best and will be praying for these new projects. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Lizzie. Yes, I think God is definitely telling us to write! So glad you have been making it a priority.

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      • Lizzie says:

        Me too, and ditto to you!! 🙂 Can totally relate to what you were sayin’ with how the good things can distract. For me the good things have been family, but it’s time for me to make room for writing, too. We can encourage one another on when we forget! 🙂

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  3. Isaac says:

    As I write this I’m reminded by thoughts that run through my head as I preach on any given Sunday; such as: they aren’t listening; I’m preaching to the choir again; if only one unsaved person would hear!
    Here is what has helped me along when I felt like giving up on something good: Philippians 4: 8 – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”

    You may not see how your posts inspire those that read; you may not receive a reply from all those that appreciate what you’ve said; you may never know the good you have done by hitting that “enter” key. All that to say: keep going, you’re doing good.

    P. S. – That’s not to say, “KEEP BLOGGING!” but to encourage you to keep doing good for the glory of God.

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    • Thank you for sharing that, Isaac. It is encouraging, and a good point to remember the why behind every calling: His glory. I sometimes struggle with discouragement too, so it’s a good reminder that the true outcome isn’t in the here and now.

      “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

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  4. Jenna says:

    I am printing this off and keeping to re-read! This is a very important lesson!

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